Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Happy Dance

The theme for the 65th Carnival of Genealogy: "The Happy Dance. The Joy of Genealogy. Almost everyone has experienced it. Tell us about the first time, or the last time, or the best time. What event, what document, what special find has caused you to stand up and cheer, to go crazy with joy?
One occasion I recall was when I received my maternal grandmother's "Official Personnel Folder" from the US Government. She had worked for the Post Office from 1921-1936. My maternal grandfather's OPF contained 50 pages of material from his career. My grandmother's 3. Her signed Oath of Office taken in 1921 was nice, but it's not my only copy of her signature. The document entitled "Report of Separation" didn't have a lot of useful information. It noted that her 'last date of pay' was Jan 21, 1937 - which was a fun coincidence since it was exactly 32 years before I was born.

It was the third document that caused the Happy Dance

A year by year accounting of her career, including her name changes in 1927 and 1929. At that point in my research, from letters she had saved from her father, I knew she had been planning to marry someone named Dale in 1927. I also knew from my mother that there had been one or two husbands prior to my grandfather. But we had no last name. After opening the package, I instantly called my mother to give her the information, which I then passed along to an aunt in an email.

Another happy dance occurred upon my discovery of testimony my maternal Hartley ancestors gave in front of the American Dawes Commission - backing up the family story that we have Choctaw ancestry.

On my paternal ancestry, I'd have to include my discovery that my second great grandfather Selig Feinstein had received a patent for improvements to a fire hydrant. At this point in my research this was confusing because I thought his career was limited to real estate and laundry. A week later I discovered he spent ten years as a shoer/blacksmith.

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